Before: Clean but basic
When a pipe burst under the sink, this homeowner knew it was time to remodel. Outdated appliances, dark wood cabinets, and a boring light fixture were swapped out to brighten and lighten up the space.
After: Unified white
To ensure that the new bottom cabinets matched the old upper units, the homeowner painted both with Benjamin Moore's Linen White—a move that lightened up the whole kitchen.
Laminate countertops were removed in favor of Ikea's affordable oak option (from $169 for 96 7/8"L; ikea.com)—which cost just $800 total and can be sanded down when cooking blunders occur.
Before: Uninspired space
The counters and cabinets in this kitchen needed a chic update, but the vintage stove had too much charm and potential to get rid of.
After: Bright white
The homeowner kept the kitchen's old Chambers stove and cabinetsnow improved with new fronts and a coat of Benjamin Moore's Patriotic Whitebut jettisoned the Formica counters and dark backsplash in favor of marble and white subway tiles.
A Design Workshop stool from ABC Carpet & Home and a Dash & Albert rug decorate the kitchen.
Before: Dark and cramped
This kitchen's heavy, wood island and dark brick backsplash created the feeling of cramped quarters.
Video: Kitchens That Sizzle >
After: Open and airy
Designer Sara Story and her sister, Lisa, share a laugh in Lisa's much-improved Connecticut kitchen.
Sara banished the awkward upper cabinetsand dated wooden valancefrom the wall with a pass-through window. She replaced the rest with sleek custom units and got rid of the hulking island. Sara also scrapped the bricks and installed plain Sheetrock, painted white.
The stainless steel appliances are by Fridgidaire and Maytag. But the best update? Barclay's apron-front sink.
Before: Needs some TLC
The owner of this Pennsylvania home, Mary Jane McCarty, planned a "kitchen de-modernization" project that included replacing dated linoleum with stock tile from Home Depot, laid at an angle to achieve the charming look of an old pharmacy.
After: Updated vintage-look
McCarty also hung custom cupboards above a vintage basin, installed a teakwood countertop around the sink, and added a marble backsplash. The flower-shaped table belonged to her grandmother.
Before: Unfinished shell
This unfinished kitchen was basically an empty shell and needed a lot of work. The renovation team started from scratch.
After: Finished favorite
"Now the kitchen's my favorite place in the house," says owner Sacha Dunn, who updated the space with stainless-steel appliances and custom maple cabinets with butcher-block tops.